DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Other than the competitors for the World Cup title, one of the vital hotly contested points within the event in Qatar is over rainbow colours.Within the first week of the event, seven European groups misplaced the battle to put on multi-colored “One Love” armbands throughout World Cup matches and a few followers complained they weren’t allowed to convey objects with rainbow colours, a logo of LGBTQ rights, into the stadiums of the conservative Islamic emirate.Qatar, the place homosexual intercourse is illegitimate, confronted intense worldwide scrutiny and criticism within the run-up to the event over rights points, together with questions on whether or not LGBTQ guests would really feel protected and welcome. The Gulf nation has mentioned all are welcome, together with LGBTQ followers, and that it could guarantee security for everybody, no matter background, however that guests ought to respect the nation’s tradition.Piara Powar, government director of Fare, the anti-discrimination group that’s reporting incidents in and round stadiums to world soccer physique FIFA, mentioned he believes the Qatari hosts felt that the controversy about LGBTQ rights has been given an excessive amount of house and that they should clamp down internally.“We now have talked to them about rainbow flags and the symbolism that it has internationally, not simply in western Europe. There are Latin Individuals who acknowledge that, there are Asians who acknowledge the Delight flag,” Powar mentioned.Simply earlier than the event began, FIFA stopped plans by seven European groups together with England and Germany to have their captains play with “One Love” anti-discrimination armbands, saying they’d obtain yellow playing cards in the event that they did. The choice sparked outrage by some within the international locations concerned.One of many groups, Belgium, tweeted a group picture Friday displaying captain Eden Hazard carrying the “One Love” armband. The nation’s overseas minister, Hadja Lahbib, wore it as she watched Belgium’s World Cup opener towards Canada on Wednesday.Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt turned up at Denmark’s match towards Tunisia carrying an outfit with rainbow-colored sleeves. In an Instagram put up a day later, she appeared conflicted concerning the alternative of clothes.“I’ve been reflecting on whether or not displaying up in rainbow colours is definitely serving to homosexual and queer of us in Qatar,” Thorning-Schmidt wrote within the put up. She puzzled whether or not it may “make issues worse by hardening the Qatar authorities towards them? I don’t know the reply however doesn’t it present us that nothing is binary, solely good or solely dangerous?”Some followers have mentioned that they had been requested to take away and discard their rainbow hats at a World Cup stadium earlier this week regardless of assurances by FIFA earlier than the event that such objects can be allowed in stadiums.Justin Martin, a U.S. citizen dwelling in Qatar, mentioned he was holding a small rainbow flag on the metro on his solution to the U.S. opener towards Wales when two folks carrying shirts that recognized them as volunteers requested him to place the flag away. He didn’t need to.“One among them grew to become agitated and … referred to me as ‘disgusting,’” mentioned Martin, an affiliate professor of journalism on the Doha Institute for Graduate Research. On the stadium, nonetheless, a girl in Qatari police uniform who was looking out his bag discovered the rainbow flag, checked out it and put it again, he mentioned. “I truly wasn’t prohibited from bringing that into the stadium.”Martin mentioned he had beforehand worn a pleasure T-shirt in Qatar to the grocery retailer or to train with none points.Some Wales followers mentioned they had been prevented from taking rainbow bucket hats to the sport towards the U.S., prompting the Wales soccer federation to lift the difficulty with FIFA, which assured them that rainbow symbols can be allowed for Friday’s recreation towards Iran.Laura McAllister, a former Wales captain who acts as ambassador to the World Cup, mentioned she and different followers wore rainbow hats to Friday’s recreation with out issues. She mentioned she was amongst these requested to take away their hats earlier than the sooner recreation with the united statesThe Qatari World Cup organizing committee didn’t present solutions to questions by The Related Press on the directions to stadium safety and volunteers about rainbow symbols.In April, a Qatari official instructed that followers carrying rainbow flags may have them eliminated to guard them from attainable assaults.The problem has been debated regularly in Qatar and the broader Center East, the place many consider it’s solely honest for guests to respect the nation’s legal guidelines, customs and spiritual beliefs, identical to folks from the area are anticipated to honor different nations’ guidelines after they journey. Others counter that rights’ points are common and that sports activities should be inclusive.Forward of the event, some LGBTQ rights activists sought to lift considerations about how LGBTQ folks in Qatar could also be handled after the World Cup ends. A few of them have additionally argued that worldwide consideration was disproportionately centered on the guests and never sufficient on LGBTQ folks within the nation.___Associated Press writers Karl Ritter and Graham Dunbar contributed.___Associated Press faith protection receives help by way of the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely liable for this content material.